While the 2023/24 World Cup season was kicking off in Chur last weekend, this October has has also marked the debut of FIS-sanctioned Rail competitions, with FIS Rails events in SnowWorld Landgraaf (NED) and Ski Dubai (UAE) seeing an exciting collection of talented freeskiers and snowboarders on hand and battling it out in this exciting new-to-FIS format.
The Landgraaf event featured some highly technical runs from athletes that naturally ride almost daily in the park there, which is available year-round and has become a valuable training centre for athletes from far and wide. Meanwhile, in Dubai, a new park was created at the Ski Dubai facility by Jacco Bos, who is also responsible for Ethan Morgan’s famous DIYX STRT JAM set ups.
In both of last week’s events in NED and the UAE, some highly motivated riders hyped each other up and threw down some increasingly impressive tricks.
Athletes coming from Thailand, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Greece, Ecuador, Netherlands, Great Britain, Belgium, Iceland, Latvia, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia and Macedonia showed that, as hoped and expected, this new Rail event format is one that is well-suited for athletes from non-traditional winter sport countries to compete and excel in FIS-sanctioned competition.
While athletes from these nations may not have access to top-level slopestyle, halfpipe or big mountain venues on a day-to-day basis, riding rails - and organizing exciting events at rail venues - is much more accessible for both teams and organisers, offering challenging and exciting opportunities for a new group of very enthusiastic athletes.
Using the occasion to share knowledge, Dubai Head Judge Will Tucker provided a FK judging clinic and was able to deliver tools and insight to new judges from Morocco, South Africa, Nepal, UAE, Greece, Egypt and Great Britain.
Rail will be an event growing in the FIS structure in the upcoming years, supporting both younger talents and already further evolved athletes to pursue their dreams on snow.